Youth sentenced to reformative training for extorting from man he slept with

SINGAPORE - An 18-year-old youth was sentenced to reformative training on Friday for extorting from a man he befriended on a mobile phone application.

The court heard that the teen, Naveenthiran Thevathas, befriended Kanthimathi Ramachandran Sreedhar, a 30 year-old man from India in June last year through the mobile phone application Grindr.

Naveenthiran agreed to meet Kanthimathi at the latter's home, a rented bedroom in Woodlands, to engage in sexual activities.

But before their meeting, Naveenthiran joined two of his friends, Kishor Ramesh, 22, and Vinod Velasamy, 20, at a coffee shop. There, Naveenthiran hatched a plan to extort money from Kanthimathi.

He would proceed to have sex with Kanthimathi and take a video while doing so. He would then send a text message to his two friends who would then show up at the flat, claiming to be Naveenthiran's elder brothers. They would tell Kanthimathi that their supposed brother was underaged and would report the matter to the police unless Kanthimathi paid them some money.

Both of Naveenthiran's friends agreed to the plan.

The duo later demanded $10,000 from Kanthimathi.

Kanthimathi, who said he did not have the amount with him, surrendered two foreign bank debit cards, a black Lenovo tablet and cash amounting to $150 and 6,000 Indian Rupees.

Naveenthiran's urine sample, taken after he was arrested two days after the extortion, also tested positive for methamphetamine, commonly known as "Ice".

Kishor was sentenced to two years' jail and three strokes of the cane for his offences, while Vinod is waiting to be sentenced, pending a report on his suitability for probation and reformative training.

A stint at the Reformative Training Centre lasts between 18 and 30 months.

amirh@sph.com.sg